In the dynamic and global textile fiber industry with its various manufacturing processes and end-uses, news and information is breaking on a daily basis. International Fiber Journal is tracking stories relevant to our industry from manmade to natural to bio-based fibers, innovations in nonwoven, woven, braided and technical textiles, technologies for additives, bonding, coatings and polymers, and applications from apparel to hygiene to transportation, and more. Here we will post news stories relevant to textile fibers and their downstream applications on an ongoing basis. Please check back for regular updates. If you have news that you feel should be added to this summary report, please email it to Ken Norberg at email@example.com.
Most recent update: October 31, 2022
Kimberly-Clark Celebrates 150 Years of Purpose-Led Innovation
Kimberly-Clark is marking the 150th anniversary of the company’s first product sold and celebrating its ongoing leadership in category defining innovation that led the company to create five of the categories it competes in and introduce products and technologies that make a difference in the lives of billions of people each day.
The company’s first sale was a stack of writing paper produced from recycled rags and linens at its newly opened Globe Mill in Neenah, Wisconsin on October 22, 1872. By the early 1900’s, Kimberly-Clark began to evolve its operations from a pulp and paper company to a personal care company as it introduced trusted brands such as Kotex®, Kleenex®, Huggies® and Depend® that are now an essential part of daily life for billions around the world.
The launch of the Kotex brand in 1920 was a pivotal moment, as Kimberly-Clark launched the modern feminine hygiene category with new-to-the-world products that also brought the promise of new opportunities for women. However, the subject of menstruation led publications to refuse advertising for the brand, and drug stores would stock Kotex pads out of sight. Today, the brand continues to work around the world to promote menstrual hygiene education, tackle social stigmas, and improve access to these essential products.
Innovation and advantaged technology have allowed Kimberly-Clark to bring more sustainable products to market, including 100% biodegradable baby wipes made with plant derived fibers, bath tissue made with 100% bamboo fiber and wrapped in recycled paper packaging, and reusables including new swim pants and period undies.
Teijin Frontier’s Thai subsidiary opens polyester filaments plant
Teijin Frontier Co., Ltd., the Teijin Group’s fibers and products converting company, announced that its core base for polyester fiber manufacturing, Teijin Polyester (Thailand) Limited (TPL), launched a cutting-edge automated facility for the highly efficient production of polyester filaments. Operation began this month.
The new facility is equipped with multi-spindle spinning machines for polyester multifilament yarn and machines capable of adding functional agents. Teijin Frontier invested approximately JPY one billion to construct the facility, which is expected to produce 1,500 tons of polyester filaments annually by the fiscal year ending in March 2024.
The facility will enhance the added value of TPL, including through extra-efficient spinning and an automated process for the uniform drying of multifilament. TPL will effectively use the new facility to produce Teijin Frontier’s proprietary polyester filaments for apparel and interior applications, such as the OctaTM highly modified hollow-core fiber and a water-absorbing quick-drying yarn.
Hygienix™ to welcome 500+ registrants, 50 tabletop displays
With the largest absorbent hygiene conference just three weeks away, INDA is ready to welcome over 500 industry professionals and 50 tabletop displays to the sixth edition of Hygienix™, the premier event for the absorbent hygiene and personal care markets, November 14-17 at The Roosevelt New Orleans Hotel in New Orleans.
Featuring three days of premium content, scheduled networking, product innovations and awards, Hygienix™ is devoted to the latest in sustainable inputs, natural fibers, product transparency, consumer research, menstrual care and market trends in the absorbent hygiene and personal care industry. Twenty-two industry thought leaders will present their on-point insights in these hot topics:
Robert Fry, Ph.D., Principal, Robert Fry Economics LLC, winner of the Most Accurate Macroeconomic Forecaster for the Year Ending June 2022 from the National Association for Business Economics, will present the North American Economic Outlook
Greys Meyer, Co-Founder/CEO, Sequel, Founder will discuss innovations in the tampon market
Prasad Thitame, Ph.D., Manager – Global Sales & Marketing Nonwovens, Birla Cellulose/Multifibres and Yarns (USA) – will present updates on sustainable product designs
A panel featuring disruptive entrepreneurs, from Grace, Kudos, and ParaPatch, Inc., will discuss challenges, biases, and taboos in bringing new innovations to market
Matt Schiering, Professor of Marketing, Dominican University, will present insights and implications from a consumer survey spanning five generations’ use of hygiene products
Len LaPorta, Managing Director, The DAK Group, will discuss mergers and acquisitions and the impact this activity has on the nonwovens industry
Jennifer J. Austin, Ph.D., Market Segment Manager – Hygiene & Medical, ExxonMobil Chemical Company, will present ExxonMobil’s investments and innovations to create a more sustainable future and a better tomorrow
Plus, the Hygienix Innovation Award™ Presentations
A full description of all 22 speakers can be viewed on www.hygienix.org.
Lear Corp. launches sueded material from recycled plastic bottles
Lear Corporation, a global automotive technology leader in Seating and E-Systems, announced the company’s premium and fully recyclable ReNewKnit™ sueded material will launch in seating and door panel applications with a global automaker in 2024.
ReNewKnit™ is a Lear exclusive, first-to-market automotive textile that is fully recyclable at its end of life. Manufactured solely with recycled materials at Lear facilities using 100% renewable electricity, ReNewKnit™ further strengthens the company’s sustainable solutions technology portfolio while supporting our carbon reduction goals.
Composed of 100% recycled plastic bottles, ReNewKnit™ fibers are spun from polyester yarn and finished with a foam-free, recycled fleece backing that further reduces water and energy consumption in the manufacturing process.
The premium material challenges perceptions of reused and recycled textiles with a wide range of surfaces suitable for various interior applications and improved functionality.
INDA moves IDEA® show from 2024 to 2025
INDA, the Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry, announced new dates for the 22nd edition of IDEA® – The World’s Preeminent Event for Nonwovens & Engineered Fabrics. Originally scheduled to take place April 23-25, 2024, IDEA® now will be held April 29-May 1, 2025, at the Miami Beach Convention Center in Miami Beach, Fla.
In 2022, IDEA® attracted 5,000 participants from across the global supply chain to engage with nonwovens & engineered materials senior-level leaders at the Miami Beach Convention Center. IDEA® 2022 was co-located with the second FiltXPO™, North America’s only exhibition and conference dedicated exclusively to filtration and separation.
“We are moving IDEA away from an already-crowded 2024 event calendar to better serve the industry,” said Tony Fragnito, INDA president. “In 2025 this IDEA schedule, again co-located with FiltXPO, is much more desirable as other industry relevant events adjust schedules post-pandemic. INDA remains committed to a two-year cycle for IDEA, which will take place every other year in the spring. IDEA 2027 will be held March 29 to April 1.”
Finalists for Hygienix Innovation Award™
Three new absorbent disposable hygiene products that provide users with greater protection, convenience and discretion are the finalists for the prestigious Hygienix Innovation Award™ that will be selected at Hygienix™, the premier event for absorbent hygiene and personal care markets, Nov. 14-17, at The Roosevelt New Orleans Hotel.
The innovative and technically sophisticated products vying for the top honors are a revolutionary pH monitoring pantyliner (Kimberly-Clark), a unique roll dispensing period product (Egal Pad) and a novel potty-training pad (Sposie Kids).
The annual award recognizes and rewards innovation that uses nonwoven material or technology in a way that provides consumer benefit and expands its usage. Last year’s winner was Kudos Diaper Subscription Box.
Each of the companies will present their products during the event on Nov. 15 and INDA’s Director of Education & Technical Affairs Matt O’Sickey will announce the winner on Nov. 17, at 11:30 a.m. to conclude Hygienix™.
The finalists for the 2022 award are:
Egal Pads: Pads on a Roll™ – A wrapped super-thin absorbent period pad that dispenses like toilet paper in public bathroom stalls, preventing the personal embarrassment of not having a menstrual product when needed. This product promotes period product accessibility and destigmatizes menstrual health. It is targeted to schools and universities and the away-from-home market.
Kimberly-Clark: Kotex® Pantyliner with pH Indicator – The new Kotex Pantyliner with pH indicator, shifts color at the moment it needs to be replaced. This technology works by changing the color from yellow to blue when activated by fluids such as urine, sweat, or others. By indicating the moment to change the product, helps to maintain the intimate area clean, fresh, and consequently healthy.
Sposie Kids: Sposie® Dribbles® Potty Training Pads – An absorbent potty-training pad that adheres to boy’s and girl’s underwear to protect against leaks and accidents during the transition from diapers to underwear, while still providing physical cues to the wearer to promote potty training. The pads absorb over half of an average 2-year-old’s bladder capacity and are 100 percent free from any fragrance, latex and chlorine.
In addition to the award presentation, the Hygienix™ conference will focus on sustainability with presentations by more than 20 industry experts on sustainable inputs, natural fibers, product transparency, reusable menstrual products, recyclable diapers and the latest market forecasts and insights into consumer buying trends.
Hygienix™ will also offer two specialized workshops, a myriad of business connection opportunities, a welcome reception, first-time attendee mentorship program, and two evenings of tabletop receptions.
Snow Peak Capital acquires Dalco Nonwovens, Global Felt Technologies
Snow Peak Capital, LLC, a private equity firm focused on middle-market businesses, announced that it has acquired Dalco Nonwovens, LLC and Global Felt Technologies, Inc. (GFT), in partnership with Joey Duncan, CEO of both companies. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Duncan has led Dalco and GFT since 2017 and will lead and retain significant ownership in both companies. The transactions represent Snow Peak’s second platform investment.
Dalco, founded in 2003 and headquartered in Conover, N.C., manufactures specialty light- and heavyweight nonwoven fabrics for a diverse customer base in the automotive, geotextile, furniture and bedding and industrial markets. Located less than 100 miles away in Union, S.C., GFT also manufactures nonwoven products for the automotive, industrial and geotextile markets.
Fab-Con Machinery to establish global headquarters in N.C.
Fab-Con Machinery Development Corporation, a manufacturer of textile finishing equipment, will create 27 new jobs in Rowan County, N.C., North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced.
The company will invest $5.3 million to relocate its headquarters and manufacturing operation to Salisbury, N.C.
Serving the knitwear industry for more than five decades, Fab-Con designs, builds and exports finishing machines for men’s, women’s and children’s clothing, outerwear and underwear. Fab-Con has a global footprint that supports a major market share of more than 200 customers in Asia, and North, South and Central Americas. This relocation will be the new home of the company’s global headquarters in a 90,000 square-foot facility as well as its machine manufacturing, administration, and sales operations.
Lenzing strengthens ambitions in textile recycling
The Lenzing Group, a world-leading provider of specialty fibers for the textile and nonwoven industries, is reinforcing its commitment to circularity by becoming a partner in the CISUTAC (Circular and Sustainable Textile and Clothing) project that is co-funded by the EU.
The new consortium was established to support the transition to a circular and sustainable textile sector and, as well as Lenzing, the 27 consortium members include the industry association Euratex, textile company Inditex, PVH, Decathlon and non-governmental organization Oxfam. For its part, Lenzing is focusing on the development of recycling processes for cellulose fibers in line with its own corporate strategy.
Change is urgently required in the textile and clothing industry as it is one of the most harmful sectors to the environment, generating 40 million tons of waste every year. The aim of the consortium is to prevent, identify and eliminate barriers to the circularity of the clothing chain. In recent years, Lenzing has set itself the target of actively promoting circularity, reducing the consumption of resources, avoiding environmental pollution and waste, increasing value creation and resource efficiency, and mitigating the negative social impact on people. These goals have always been firmly anchored in the company’s strategy.
Bast Fibre Technologies Inc. secures strategic investment from Ahlström Capital
Bast Fibre Technologies Inc. (BFT), the makers of sero™ hemp fiber, announced that it has closed a major strategic financing with Ahlström Capital of Finland. BFT will immediately begin work to expand fiber manufacturing capacity at its US-flagship facility in Lumberton (NC) and its EU-facility near Düsseldorf (NRW).
This financing will enable BFT to produce over 10,000 metric tons of sero™ hemp fiber per year by 2023 and up to 50,000 metric tons per year by 2026.
“Nonwoven companies, converters, and leading consumer goods companies are looking for viable natural fiber options to achieve their corporate sustainability initiatives as they move away from synthetics,” said Jim Posa, CEO of BFT. “The market for natural fibers is set for rapid growth, and this highly strategic funding will help BFT to solidify its position and further accelerate its expansion to meet the increasing demand for tree-free, plastic-free fibers.”
Ahlstrom-Munksjö to operate under the business name Ahlstrom
Ahlstrom-Munksjö has started to operate under the business name Ahlstrom as of October 3, 2022. The company has completed the ownership reorganization of its Decor business and thus proceeded with its plan, announced in May 2022, to change its name to Ahlstrom. The divested Decor business continues as an independent company under the well-recognized Munksjö name.
In June 2022, Ahlstrom-Munksjö announced its intention to accelerate the pace of its strategy execution and set a goal to become the preferred sustainable specialty materials provider through a clearly defined purpose, sharper strategic focus and ambitious sustainability targets. A new operating model and reporting structure, effective as of July 2022, was implemented to effectively carry out the work.
Beverly Knits acquires Gentry Mills
Beverly Knits, Inc. announced that it has purchased the assets of Gentry Mills. The new business, Creative Dyeing & Finishing, LLC, will continue to provide dyeing & finishing services to the textile industry. The operation will complement the Beverly Knits group of companies – Creative Fabrics, Creative Ticking, Altus Finishing and Hemingway Sewing Solutions.
“A combination of factors led to the decision to invest and expand,” said Ron Sytz, CEO of Beverly Knits. “We have been producing quality circular knit textile products for over 42 years in Gastonia, N.C. “We feel that this is the right time to further expand our capabilities into dyeing and finishing of fabrics. This continues to support the reshoring of textile production and to strengthen our capability to produce goods ‘Made in the USA.’ With this addition, Beverly Knits companies have the ability to provide solutions from knitting all the way to a completed garment.
As a result of projected increased demand, the new company expects to hire an additional 50+ employees through 2023.
Fi-Tech to rep Baldwin Tech
To ensure exceptional service amid growing demand for sustainable solutions, Fi-Tech Inc. will represent Baldwin Technology Co. Inc.’s complete textile and nonwoven product lines as its sales agent in the U.S. and Canada. The new partnership is effective immediately.
Baldwin’s solutions enable fabric producers to significantly reduce their chemical, water, gas and power consumption while increasing productivity. The contact-free technology makes it possible to eliminate entire steps from the textile manufacturing process, like drying and bath changeovers required when switching between fabric colors to avoid color contamination.
Founded in 1972 and headquartered in Richmond, Va., Fi-Tech is well established as the leading agency and distribution firm for textile and non-woven machinery. Its initial focus was on synthetic fibers and nonwovens and it has since expanded its portfolio to represent manufacturers of complete machines or technical components used in the production of nonwovens, synthetic fibers, polymer, textiles, converting, perforated products and tobacco processing. Fi-Tech also maintains a spare parts inventory for many of the companies it represents.
INDA invites industry to share sustainability successes on new website
Nonwoven & engineered material companies have come together to demonstrate the industry’s commitment to reducing environmental impact and advancing sustainability.
From recyclable packaging, biodegradable fibers and sustainable materials to innovative technologies, manufacturing methods and scientific advancements, companies in this sector are making an important difference in environmental efficiency.
To highlight these successes, INDA is showcasing these advances and inviting other industry players to contribute their sustainability accomplishments on a new website.
Launched this month, the site features examples of exceptional sustainability initiatives by nonwoven & engineered material companies around the world and across the supply chain in the following categories:
Sustainable innovation – making intentional changes to generate long-term social and environmental benefits
Responsible sourcing – using materials that are primarily bio-based or from feedstocks drawing on regenerative, and/or sustainable agriculture principles to advance circularity or returning the product into the supply chain after use
Responsible end-of-life solutions – incorporating materials that are either recyclable or biodegradable
Featured companies include Bast Fibre Tech (BFT), Procter & Gamble (P&G), Dow, Berry Global, PFNonwovens, Reifenhäuser, Rockline, Lenzing,Fibertex, Owens & Minor, Southeast Nonwovens, Spuntech and Natureworks.
Tony Fragnito, INDA president, said the new initiative advances one of INDA’s key strategic pillars to educate consumers, policymakers and other stakeholders about the industry, the benefits of nonwoven & engineered materials and the social consciousness of this industry.
Starlinger adds two PET recycling lines at brand Go Rewise
Ganesha Ecopet Private Limited, a subsidiary of Indian PET recycling pioneer Ganesha Ecosphere Ltd., recently opened its new Warangal facility under the brand name Go Rewise, where it produces rPET for filament yarns and fibers, as well as for food-grade packaging.
The company has installed two Starlinger PET recycling lines in its facility in Warangal, Telangana state. Ganesha Ecopet plans to supply the produced rPET granulates under its newly introduced brand enterprise Go Rewise. Launched under the umbrella of one of India’s rPET industry leaders, Go Rewise is committed to supplying the highest quality rPET products that are produced in a resource-efficient process.
The first Starlinger recycling line, a recoSTAR PET 165 H-VAC, processes washed PET bottle flakes for the Go Rewise polyester filament yarn applications and reaches an output of approx. 14,000 tons per year. When using recycled PET for filament yarn production, it must meet the highest quality standards. Thus, all foreign particles and polymers have to be removed before the extrusion process. To achieve optimum melt purity for extrusion, Starlinger has developed a special candle filter for fiber applications, called Rapid Sleeve Changer (RSC). It ensures finest melt filtration down to 15 μm and achieves a throughput of up to 2000 kg per hour. The filter elements can be changed without interrupting production, which significantly reduces melt loss and machine downtime.